Wisconsin wasn’t the first state to see cases of coronavirus. It hasn’t been the hardest hit. And as the pandemic stretches on, its cities haven’t see the explosive outbreak rates of other metropolises like New Orleans or Detroit.
But Wisconsin nevertheless became an epicenter for the pandemic’s fallout last week thanks to its chaotic electoral primary. The election was the first of its kind to be held during the crisis, and thanks to last minute legal wrangling it was characterized by long lines, a dearth of polling places, and fears that it could foreshadow more chaos in future elections.
Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to spread, wreaking havoc across society — including in the real estate industry. The situation is far from finished, but here’s where things stood for Wisconsin as the week began:
Statewide cases and deaths
- A total of 12,687 people have tested positive for the virus in Wisconsin, according to the state’s Department of Health Services.
- Wisconsin has had 459 deaths as of Monday, May 18th.
- There have been 1144,502 negative tests in the state as of Monday, May 18th.
- Wisconsin has had 2,068 hospitalizations from the coronavirus, representing 16 percent of positive cases.
Statewide crisis response
- Wisconsin had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on March 11.
- On March 13, Gov. Tony Evers closed all schools across the state.
- Mass gatherings were banned on March 16.
- Evers issued a “safer-at-home” order on March 24. The order prohibits non-essential travel and limits commercial activity to “essential businesses.” The order is set to remain in effect until April 24.
- A moratorium on evictions and foreclosures began on March 27. Evers has also issued rules meant to keep utilities turned on for people who can’t pay their bills during the epidemic.
Statewide real estate
- Across the entire state, there were 5,685 home sales in March, up 38 percent from February, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA). Sales in March were also up nearly 8 percent year-over-year.
- Wisconsin’s median home price was $207,500 last month. That’s a 9 percent increase compared to March, and a 12 percent increase year-over-year.
- Under Evers safer-at-home order, real estate agents are still allowed to conduct business, “as long as they comply with the social distancing and other requirements in the order,” according to the WRA. The order extends “essential” status to both real estate activity, as well as appraisals, home inspections and other ancillary services. Multiple agents who spoke to Inman said that they are still conducting in-person showings in the state, albeit cautiously and with liberal use of Clorox wipes. Agents also told Inman that their brokerages have halted open houses.
- Overall, agents told Inman that while the market has slowed somewhat since the pandemic began, inventory remains tight and deals are still closing quickly. All the agents who spoke to Inman said they remained busy in March, even if conditions are slower than they might have been without the pandemic.
Confirmed cases as of May 19th: 5040
Deaths as of May 19th: 256
Milwaukee County is anchored by its namesake city, which with just under 600,000 people is the largest in the state. The broader county is home to just under a million people.
According to data from Metro MLS, Milwaukee County homes had a median sales price of $183,000 in March, up 11.6 percent year-over-year.
The county had 966 new listings in March, which is a 9 percent year-over-year drop.
There were 752 closed sales in March, which is a year-over-year increase of 5.3 percent.
Listings in the county spent an average of 40 days on the market, which was unchanged from one year ago.
The median sales price for a home in Milwaukee proper last month was $157,000, according to Metro MLS data. That’s up 18 percent year-over-year.
Dane County (Madison)
Confirmed cases as of May 19th: 538
Deaths as of May 19th: 25
Dane County is home to just over half a million people and is best known for Madison, the state capital. Madison alone is home to just over a quarter of a million people.
Dane County’s median home price in March was $300,000, according to the WRA. That’s up 0.8 percent since February and 6.1 percent year-over-year.
The county also had 605 closed sales in March, up about 5.8 percent year-over-year.
According to data that Zillow provided to Inman, in March homes in Madison proper had a median price of $278,700, which is up 1 percent compared to February.
Also in Madison proper, total active inventory rose 15 percent between March 1 and April 5, according to Zillow’s data. However, new listings were down 17 percent year-over-year during that period.
Brown County (Green Bay)
Confirmed cases as of May 19th: 2,012
Deaths as of May 19th: 23
Brown County is best known for Green Bay, home of the NFL’s Packers. Green Bay’s population is just over 100,000 people, while the county population is roughly a quarter of a million.
According to the WRA, Brown County had a median sales price of $215,000 in March. That’s up 11.3 percent since February and nearly 23 percent year-over-year.
There were 229 sales in Brown County in March. That represents a decrease of 7 percent year-over-year.
According to Zillow, the median sales price in Green Bay proper during March was $186,000 — an increase of 4 percent compared to February. New listings were down 24 percent year-over-year at the beginning of April, Zillow’s data also shows. Total inventory increased 13 percent between March 1 and April 5, according to the data.
- The Wisconsin Realtors Association has a number of coronavirus-related resources for industry professionals.
- The Tenant Resource Center has information for people who cannot pay their rent. The city of Milwaukee also has resources for renters.
- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services maintains a running tally of the number of cases and deaths in the state, as well as where those cases have taken place.
- Wisconsin’s state website has updates on officials’ response to the pandemic, as well as a list of orders and proclamations from Gov. Evers.